Policy & History

Chronology of Relations

The United States recognized Belarusian independence on December 25, 1991. After the two countries established diplomatic relations, the U.S. Embassy in Minsk was officially opened on January 31, 1992. Ambassador David H. Swartz, our first Ambassador to Belarus, officially assumed post on August 25, 1992 – the first anniversary of Belarusian independence – and departed post on completion of his term in late January 1994; George A. Krol assumed the position of Charge d’Affaires a.i. and served in this capacity until November 7, 1994, when Kenneth S. Yalowitz assumed post. Kenneth Yalowitiz was succeeded by Daniel V. Speckhard who served as U.S. Ambassador to Belarus from August 1997 to August 2000, spending one year out of Belarus because of the “Drozdy dispute.” On April 6, 2000 President Clinton named Michael G. Kozak as U.S. Ambassador to Belarus. Ambassador Kozak arrived in Belarus on October 20, 2000 and departed post in August 2003. He was succeeded by Ambassador George Krol who arrived in Belarus on September 3, 2003. Ambassador Karen Stewart served in Minsk from 2006 to 2008, until Belarusian Government unilaterally forced U.S. Embassy to withdraw its Ambassador and reduce its staff from 35 to five diplomats.

The two countries exchanged top-level official visits: Stanislav Shushkevich, then Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus met with President Clinton in Washington in July 1993, and the U.S. President visited Belarus on January 15, 1994.Officials of the Bush administration visited Belarus on March 18-20, 2001.

Bilateral History in Documents

The history of bilateral relations is documented in White House and Department of State statements, U.S. Congress resolutions, and other USG reports and findings about Belarus. In the Press-releases page you will also find statements by international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose principles all member states–including the United States and Belarus–have to adhere to.

U.S. Assistance

Throughout the years of anything but a smooth relationship with Belarusian authorities, the United States has maintained its commitment to the Belarusian people whose lives in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident are still missing the advantages of market economy and democratic values.

The U.S. Assistance to Belarus pages will tell you a lot about what the U.S. Government does to alleviate hardship of the Belarusian people; they also describe the invaluable contribution of some American charity and volunteer organizations like Citihope International but fall short of listing all those organizations and individuals who spend a lot of their time and effort to help Belarusian children and society in general.

People to People

Multiple programs of citizen, academic, and professional exchanges have been serving for years the U.S. Government’s purpose of bridging gaps between nations and fostering understanding and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the world.

Virtually every country in the world has contributed to the history of the “melting pot” of nations, which is how they call the United States. Belarus has left quite a trace in it with its more than fair share of scientists, financiers, musicians, painters who came to live and work in the United States.